Medicines optimisation

Prescribing recommendations

NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group works closely with NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, Medway Foundation Trust Hospital and other colleagues, such as community services, through the Joint Medway and Swale Drug and Therapeutics Committee, to produce recommendations on which drugs should be prescribed for particular conditions and sometimes on the most cost effective use of particular medicines.

The recommendations from the committee can be found in the Joint Medway and Swale formulary.


What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are important medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic. They become ‘antibiotic resistant’, meaning that the antibiotic no longer works. The more often we use an antibiotic, the more likely it is that bacteria will become resistant to it. Some bacteria that cause infections in hospitals, such as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), are resistant to several antibiotics.

Why can’t other antibiotics be used to treat resistant bacteria?

They can, but they may not be as effective and may have more side effects. Eventually the bacteria will become resistant to them, and we may not always be able to find new antibiotics to replace them. In recent years, fewer new antibiotics have been discovered.

Why shouldn’t antibiotics be used to treat colds, most coughs and sore throats?

All colds and most coughs and sore throats are caused by viruses and generally, these will get better on their own. Antibiotics do not work against infections caused by viruses. Viral infections are also much more common than bacterial infections.

How can antibiotic resistance be avoided?

By using antibiotics less often, we can slow down the development of resistance. It’s not possible to stop it completely but slowing it down stops resistance spreading and buys some time to develop new types of antibiotics.

So when will I be prescribed antibiotics?

Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics when you need them, for example for a kidney infection or pneumonia. Antibiotics may be life-saving for infections such as meningitis – by not using them unnecessarily, they’re more likely to work when we do need them.

What can I do about antibiotic resistance?

You can use antibiotics only when it’s appropriate to do so. When they are prescribed, the complete course should be taken in order to get rid of the bacteria completely. If the course isn’t completed, some bacteria may be left and they may develop resistance.

Where can I get further help and advice?

Pharmacists can offer advice on over the counter medicines to treat symptoms of mild infections such colds, coughs, sinusitis, otitis media (earache) and sore throats. You can find your nearest pharmacy and its opening hours on the Health Help Now web app.

For more advice on treating winter ailments, how long you can expect symptoms to last, and warning signs to look out for, visit Treat Yourself Better or NHS Choices.

Acute kidney injury

Hydration messages to prevent acute kidney injury. Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) was previously known as acute renal failure and simply means a sudden reduction in renal function.

Medicines and dehydration leaflet tri-fold May 2018